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Agricultural Intelligence



Adulteration of Manure

       It is our unpleasant duty to draw public attention to the following
maure case, which deserves to be more extensively known, than through the
columns of a local newspaper.

       It appears from the Sherborne Journal, that a quantity of
superphosphate of lime was lately purchased by Mr. FRY, a tenant upon the Dean of
Windsor's estate, at Butleigh, of an agent to the West of England Manure Company at
Ilminster. The price charged was £ 7  5s per ton. Circumstances, which need not
be explained, led to this substance being submitted to Professor WAY for
analysis. The following was the result, given in the words of that able chemist:-

       The sample of superphosphate of lime is, as you supposed, a very
inferior article, and I am afraid from it's composition that it's inferiority
cannot be mercifully imputed to the mere ignorance of the maker. A good
superphosphate should contain 12 or 15 percent if not more of the soluble phosphate-the
sample in question does not contain 1 per cent. Moreover the total proportion
of phosphate of lime is so much smaller than it should be that I cannot help
believing that some of the gypsum was put in as such - not produced by the
ordinary action of sulphuric acid. In fact I beleive that it is a mechanical
mixture of ground bones and gypsum, but I cannot assert this positively. Anyhow it
is a bad sample of superphosphate. I should not value it at more than £ 2  or £
2  10s. per ton, because it can only be worth the bone it contains. It's
analysis gave,


                                                         Per Cent.
Moisture.................................................16.09

Organic matter and a _moniacal salts........14.56

Sand, &c.................................................11.30

Biphosphate of lime (equal to neutral phosphate
       rendered soluble  0.61)........................0.41

Neutral phosphate of lime, insoluble...........13.00

Hydrated sulphate of lime (gypsum)............37.27

Alkaline salts, with some carbonate of lime...7.37
                                                                _____
                                                                100.00
Nitrogen 1.51 per cent., equal to ammonia 1.83 per cent

       In what light are we to view this transaction? Here is what is called
a manure company vending at £ 7  5s, an article which cannot at the utmost be
woth more than £ 2  10s.; and what is worse, the only material of any value
which it conatins is almost entirely in a state which destroys it's utility.
Superphosphate of lime owes it's great importance to the large quantity it
contains of soluble phosphate, of which the roots of plants like the turnip can make
immediate use. Good smples contain from 12 to 15 per cent of it. But the
parcel in question did not contain much above one-half percent. So that this
"manure company" has the conscience to sell for £  5s what to the farmer is worth
next to nothing. The best superphosphate, containing 15 per cent of soluble
phosphate, is advertised by persons of the highest respectability at £ 7 per ton;
The West of England Manure Company charges £ 7  5s for a half per cent; the
real comparative value of such "superphosphate" being, if the rule of three is
applicable to maure-makers and their dealings, just four shillings and
tenpence.

       What makes this matter even more scandalousis, that Mr. FRY, who was
cheated, actually paid 5s above the market price, in full confidene that he
thus securing a genuine article. We do not know what kind of verdict a jury would
give Mr. FRY as a compensation for the injury thus inflicted upon him; but we
earnestly trust he will ascertain.  Manure-frauds have, we are happy to say
already received a check, from the general refusal of the buyers who have been
taken in to pay for the rubbish palmed upon them. A few actions at law for
compensation on account of loss of crop, would probably render spurious
manure-making too dangerous a trade to be carried on with profit.

       We ought to add that we acknowledge of the case now recorded to R. S.
GRABURN, Esq., of Ilfracombe, by whom the facts were communicated so the
Sherborne Journal; and we venture, in the name of the whole body of the
agricultural interest, to offer him most hearty thanks for his public-spirited conduct on
this occasion.